Wednesday, 9 February 2011

I photographed this display at the Charmouth Heritage Centre whilst briefly back in Dorset a few years ago and have just "dug up" the old photos. Here we see a cast of the almost complete fossil remains of a Scelidosaurus, painstakingly recovered over several years by professional fossil collector David Sole. Scelidosaurus has been referred to as "the Charmouth Dinosaur" and all 9 specimens I know of come from marine deposits at that same locality. Wait a minute ... multiple remains of a single genus of Dinosaur from marine deposits at one locality? Yes. It would seem these animals, or their bodies, were swept out to sea and subsequently buried in near-shore sediments. They may have inhabited a coastal or estuarine environment and were swept out by tsunami or flash floods - perhaps even in a single event (unlikely as that sounds). Preserved impressions show that the skin between all those bony osteoderms consisted of a hide of small and pebbly reptilian scales. A cast of this specimen recently went on display at St. George Dinosaur Discovery Museum, Johnson Farm, Utah U.S.A., which should help raise awareness of this fascinating animal.

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